Veteran coach Guus Hiddink has confirmed he is in talks over a return to Chelsea to replace Jose Mourinho, who departed the club by mutual consent on Thursday.
Mourinho’s second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge came to an end after the Premier League champions’ shocking season continued with a 2-1 loss at Leicester City on Monday, a result that leaves them just a point above the relegation zone.
Speculation soon gathered pace that Chelsea would turn to Hiddink at least until the end of the season.
The 69-year-old previously enjoyed a short spell in charge of the London club in 2009, when he led Chelsea to a third-placed finish and FA Cup glory.
Discussion over a possible return have started, but he has dismissed any talk of being on the bench when Chelsea face Sunderland this weekend.
The Dutchman told De Telegraaf: “I want to know as much as possible about Chelsea before I sign a deal.
“I want to gain as much information as possible. Chelsea is in a bad situation and there are reasons for that. Before I take a decision, I want to have insight.”
Asked about the prospect of being in charge against Sunderland, he said: “The coaches will do that. Or I will visit the match depends on my first conversation. In response, I determine whether I stay longer in London to discuss the matter further.”
Hiddink counts the likes of PSV, Fenerbahce and Real Madrid among a lengthy list of clubs on his CV, while he has also worked in international football with South Korea, Australia, Turkey and Netherlands (twice).
Since leaving Chelsea at the end of the 2008-09 season, Hiddink has endured mixed fortunes.
He left Turkey having failed to qualify for Euro 2012, before a short spell at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala followed.
Hiddink then replaced Louis van Gaal as Netherlands coach after the 2014 World Cup, but he left the position in June due to the nation’s poor record in Euro 2016 qualifying.